"There must be some other way to do an interview!" - Ray Wilson chats to TWR via e-mail. Interview by Alan Hewitt.
Well folks, this interview was pieced together thanks to contributions from myself and the readers of the Genesis newsgroup "Paperlate" so my thanks to the various contributors who sent in their questions. Of necessity Ray's answers are shorter than they would have been in we had done the more usual "one-to-one"-style TWR interview but I am sure you will find Ray's answers interesting and my thanks to him for spending the time to answer these questions... enjoy!
TWR: Were you surprised to be offered the Genesis job?
RW: The job was a surprise but only when I received the first call. I felt that I had a great chance after the first audition; just a feeling.
TWR: How easy was it for you to fit into the band's work pattern?
RW: I felt quite comfortable working with the band but you never really know what Mike and Tony are thinking.
TWR: What do you think you brought to the band that may have been missing previously?
RW: I brought a bit of balls to the band's music. I don't know whether that was a good thing for the fans. It was for me.
TWR: Which songs did you have a hand in writing for "Calling All Stations" or was all of the material written before you joined?
RW: I co-wrote "Small Talk", "Not About Us" and "There Must Be Some Other Way"; all of my contributions were to the lyrics.
TWR: There were numerous B-Sides to the singles that were released; did you write for any of them and if so, which ones?
RW: I wrote "Banjo Man" and one other B-Side... I can't remember which one.
TWR: Is the lyric to "Anything Now" about Phil's departure from the band...?
RW: I honestly don't know, Tony wrote the lyrics to that one.
TWR: Who or what is "Sign Your Life Away" about...?
RW: I don't know... Mike wrote that one. I think it was about a dodgy salesman.
TWR: In view of the fact that all of the songs recorded were released as B-Sides except one. Can you tell us why "Nowhere Else To Turn" wasn't ever used?
RW: Oh! "Nowhere Else To Turn" was the other one I wrote! I don't know why it wasn't used. A money thing, maybe? Or it might be that it was crap.
TWR: How much old material did the band rehearse for the tour?
RW: Not enough!!! I wish we had done more old stuff; it is so much more soul searching; Peter's stuff than Phil's stuff.
TWR: Were you comfortable with the choice of some of the more obvious songs, and whose decision was it to include songs such as "Hold On My Heart" and "That's All" in the set?
RW: I wasnít comfortable with some of the choices but to be fair; it was a difficult decision for the guys and for me. You can't please everyone.
TWR: You said in a previous interview with TWR that you would have liked to perform more of the band's older material. What were your favourite tracks and why did you choose them?
RW: My favourite tracks were "Mama"; "I Know What I Like", "In The Cage" and "Abacab" which were good to rehearse but which didn't make it to the tour.
TWR: The cancellation of the US tour must have been a big blow; how did that affect the band?
RW: The cancellation of the US tour was a disaster, and I believe that it ended Genesis.
TWR: Did you enjoy the European and UK tours; and what were the high points and low points for you personally?
RW: The European tour was brilliant. The high point was the very last gig in Nurnberg, at the Festival. The low point was the one I missed in Germany - my throat packed in.
TWR: Do you think that the band should have returned to the studio to record another album following the tour?
RW: I didn't want to do another album after the tour, nor Mike. Tony did. We should have listened to him. Not only older, but wiser too!
TWR: Were you involved at all in the re-recording of "Carpet Crawlers" for the "Hits" album...?
RW: I was supposed to be involved in "Carpet Crawlers" but someone put a stop to it. Your guess is as good as mine (I have a feeling why).
TWR: Was the recording of a second album an option under the terms of your original contract?
TWR: Do you feel that in some ways, the band and, perhaps their management, blame you for the relative lack of success of the album?
RW: I don't think so. It was more about timing and the lack of Phil. I just did the best I could. I don't think it would have been any different if someone else had taken the job.
TWR: How do you personally feel now about your time in the band?
RW: I feel a little disheartened at the way I was dealt with toward the end; but that is showbiz. It is a fucker of a business sometimes; but that won't stop me I donít suppose.
TWR: Why was "Millionairhead" not released in the UK?
RW: That was down to politics.
TWR: Did you enjoy recording the album?
RW: I had a great time, writing and recording the demos but I felt enormous pressure when it came to actually recording the album.
TWR: When did you actually start recording the "Cut" album?
RW: The "Cut" album was recorded during July, August and September of 1998.
TWR: Why were there no UK gigs (apart from the warm-up)?
RW: Once again, that was down to politics; people let me down.
TWR: How did the tour of Germany with The Scorpions go? Were you well received by their fans?
RW: The Scorpions gigs were great. The Westerhagen stadium tour was a bad decision though. We should have done a smaller club tour.
TWR: You performed a track on the orchestral performance by The Scorpions in Berlin; how did that come about?
RW: The band called me and asked me to do a track on the album. The gig was the best ever.
TWR: Are there any plans for a follow-up album to "Millionairhead"?
RW: I am writing a solo album at the moment and that will be the next release... next year.
TWR: You have mentioned that you are recording solo material with other people; how are things going with that and who else is involved?
RW: I am working with a guy called Taj who is an amazing guitarist and writer. I am also working with other players; cello, saxophone and a lyricist called Mark Pilley from Hobotalk; they are signed to Virgin UK and he is the next Bob Dylan.
TWR: When will we see your next project and when will you be playing any shows...?
RW: Next year, and next year respectively.
There you have it. Once again my thanks to ray for answering these questions so quickly and to the contributors who asked the questions in the first place!